Russian ‘gay propaganda’ ban will not apply to Sochi Olympics guests and athletes – Duma committee
Moscow, August 2 (Interfax) – Russia’s new law that imposes heavy fines for providing information about homosexuality to people under 18 will not apply to the guests and athletes participating in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games on Sochi, Igor Ananskikh, deputy chairman of the State Duma’s Physical Culture, Sport and Youth Policy Committee, told Interfax on Friday.
“The Olympic Games is a major international event. We need to be as polite and tolerant as possible. That is why a decision has been made not to raise this issue during the Olympics,” he said.
The Russian government’s decision not to apply the requirements of this law to the event’s guests and participants is “totally logical and correct,” he added.
“Russia plans to host large international competitions in the future. The atmosphere at them must be as safe and polite as possible,” Ananskikh said.
For his part, Nikolai Alexeyev, a leader of the Russian LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, told Interfax that LGBT activists were going to lodge an appeal against this law with the Constitutional Court before the start of the Olympic Games on Sochi.
“He will lodge an appeal with the Constitutional Court before the Games start. But if we prove unable to do so, we will go to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Furthermore, our appeal contesting a similar regional law, which was passed by the St. Petersburg legislature, has already been submitted to the Constitutional Court and has even been accepted by its secretariat. Now we are awaiting the end of the judges’ vacation – whether they will agree to consider it or will throw it out straightaway,” he said.
Several athletes have already announced their readiness to show up for the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi holding flags and symbols of the LGBT community, Alexeyev said.
“Certainly, we do not rule out that they might start to apply this law to the Olympics participants if we do not have time to appeal it. But in this case, we will extend legal support to athletes who will find themselves affected by this law. We may even lodge appeals against court rulings with the ECHR,” he said.